Youth Leadership Conference rebuke removal of Gandhi statue in Ghana


By Express News Service


It was only about a month ago that a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, erected on the campus of University of Ghana, was taken down by students and teachers contending that he considered Africans ‘inferior’. Causing an uproar not only in India but also internationally, the incident raised questions regarding some of the less-talked-about aspects of Gandhi’s life, shedding a new light on his character.

However, the African nationals who participated in the Telangana Jagruthi International Youth Leadership Conference, an event themed around the teachings of Gandhi, had no qualms about his attitude towards Africans and were, in fact, sympathetic to it.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, based on ‘Mahatma Gandhi’s path to sustainability and innovation’, a Tanzanian national Asia Dimoso Magoma, working as a social worker, said, “Gandhi too was a human being at the end of the day. I am here because I believe in the good things that Gandhi did.”

For Ghanaian national Ernest Tsifodze, the act of removing Gandhi’s statue was condemnable. “He was a great man because he has done a lot . Destroying his statue has, in turn, made our country racist. Sure, we can accept that he was racist, but we should have just left it at that.”

In December 2018, the statue of Gandhi was removed from the University of Ghana after students and faculty protested that the leader was racist in his ways. An article published in the The Guardian pointed to a 2005 book which spoke about instances of Gandhi complaining of Indians having to use the same entrances as Africans. He had also used, ‘Kaffir’, a degrading term, to describe African nationals.


Featured photo credit: EWN via Pixabay.com


This article was first published at New Indian Express


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South Africa: Leaders must be exemplary to motivate youth.


By Zaid Khumalo


I am a 24-year-old student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and my plan was to excel in political science with the hope that I would later impart my knowledge back to my people and my country.

But I have since changed my mind and I don’t want to have anything to do with politics anymore because I fear I will change from the person I am into someone else. The pressure of being a politician turns many people to speak with forked tongues and make promises they cannot fulfil.

I was born in 1994 and I grew up surrounded by the Mandela-mania that glued South Africans of all races into a rainbow nation. Many of my peers were highly inspired by the many doors that were opened for South Africans of all races to embrace one another under the theme of Ubuntu.

Looking back, yes, I can see the few strides the country has made towards a single, united and non-racial South Africa. But as a young black woman, I still see no progress beyond what was initiated by late former president Nelson Mandela.

To me and other young black South Africans my age, this past weekend’s celebrations by the African National Congress may have proved just how strong the party is in terms of support, but our leaders are still lagging in fulfilling the aspirations of many ordinary South Africans.

My simple young person’s comment is: As the youth, we need exemplary leaders who can inspire and motivate us instead of dampening our expectations. Politicians should give us homes and make us believe in the future by turning their promises into tangible results.

We are in 2018 and heading for the nation’s next elections. We cannot live on the same promises made by late former president Nelson Mandela in 1994.


Written by Agnes Sonti Mthembu


Featured photo credit: Inc via Getty Images.


This article was first published at Kathorusmail


The Importance of Self Improvement No Matter How Old You Are


By Adela Belin


Ever since we were young, we were told to excel in academics, focus on getting good grades and ace our exams. In schools and colleges, the learning has always been more directed towards academic courses but what about aspects like self-improvement and personal development that play an equally important role in people’s lives?

The importance of self-improvement often goes unnoticed. We are either conveniently brushing our shortcomings under the carpet, refusing to face them or are just happy being ignorant. Truth is – you cannot run away from yourself. The farther you run, the deeper a grave you dig because there will come a time when all those unresolved emotions will surface, leaving you overwhelmed.

So, what should you do? Start with consciously becoming more self-aware, observing your thoughts, emotions and responses and deciding to make self-improvement an integral part of your life.

Just the way learning should never stop, the same applies for self-improvement. The idea should be to focus on continuous self-development at every stage in our life and become better versions of ourselves.

Here are 12 reasons why self-improvement is important irrespective of your age:

1. Increase Self-Awareness

We spend so much time getting to know other people and solve their issues. If only we spent that much time knowing ourselves, things would have been so much more different. Isn’t it?

The first step of self-improvement requires you to become more self-aware and get to know yourself better. It makes you question yourself and face reality for what it is, however harsh it might be.

Self-awareness is an ongoing journey – as life progresses, you are met with different experiences and challenges, which make you more aware of your personality, thoughts and feelings. So, in order to be on the path of self-improvement, it is important to never lose touch with yourself.

2. Enhance Strengths

Self-improvement lets you identify your personal strengths and play on them. From relationships to careers – knowing your strengths is important for every sphere of your life.

It gives you a better understanding of what you are seeking and where you are likely to thrive and excel. It helps you set life goals and make them happen. After all, you can only achieve what you want when you KNOW what you want.

By nurturing and playing on your strengths, you are more likely to attain success and move towards shaping a happier and more productive life.

3. Overcom Weaknesses

While identifying strengths is an important aspect of self-improvement, so is coming to terms with your weaknesses. Don’t be ashamed of them, look at them as areas of improvement. We all have strengths and weaknesses that shape our personality. It is these imperfections that make us human.

The goal of improving yourself should be to look beyond those weaknesses that are stopping you from achieving greatness. Accept your weaknesses, identify where they stem from and be determined to overcome them.

It’s not easy but it’s certainly not impossible. Let your journey of self-improvement turn every weakness into a strength and only take you upward.

4. Step out of Comfort Zone

The ‘comfort zone’ is a dangerous place to be in. It surely feels good, but it also denotes stagnancy and where there is stagnancy, you can never find growth.

Choosing to work on improving yourself requires you to step out of your comfort zone. It lets you face your fears, try new things, take risks and challenge yourself. There will be times when you will discover a new side of your personality but there will also be times when you will fail.

Don’t let those failures bog you down. The fact that you tried should motivate you to never get complacent and too comfortable in familiar spaces because as they say, life begins outside your comfort zone.

5. Improve Mental Health

One of the biggest importance of self-improvement is the positive impact it has on mental health. When you work on yourself, you get to know yourself better which lets you deal with your thoughts and emotions more effectively. You begin to understand why you are experiencing certain emotions and learn how to tackle them with time.

Someone who is not self-aware and not focused on improving themselves will have absolutely no control over their reactions which can lead to added stress and anxiety. Being in denial is never the answer.

6. Heal Relationships

When you work on improving yourself, you automatically improve your relations with those around you. For example, if your short-tempered nature has always been a cause of concern in your relationships, by consciously working on that aspect of your personality, you learn how to tame your anger and become calmer. This positive change reflects in your personal and professional relationships and enhances them.

The key to combat conflicts and build meaningful relationships starts with looking inward and developing yourself first. Moreover, when you strive to become a self-sufficient person and have a positive self-image, you are bound to nurture healthy relationships.

7. Motivating Factor

Imagine climbing up a mountain – every hurdle you cross, motivates you to go higher. The same analogy holds true when it comes to self-improvement. Every fear and weakness you overcome motivates you to continue on the path of self-improvement and evolve further.

Self-improvement and motivation go hand in hand. When you see yourself developing as a human being, you are filled with optimism and the drive to push yourself to do better. It is a continuous cycle that needs you to maintain your motivation levels and be committed to continuous growth.

8. Better Decision Making

We are required to make decisions at every step in our lives and every decision has a repercussion. Moreover, it is not about making decisions as much as it is about being confident about the decision taken.

Good decision making skills come from a place of clarity, self-awareness and confidence which is a direct result of self-improvement. When you know what you want to achieve out of a situation and set your goals accordingly, you are able to make better, informed decisions.

9. Sense of Purpose

Deciding to walk the path of self-improvement and personal development gives your life purpose and meaning. Why is that important, you ask? It’s because it helps you stay focused on your life goals, makes you feel alive and keeps you motivated. It improves mental and physical well-being by keeping you on the right track.

With a sense of purpose, you learn to accept all the challenges that come along the way because you have your eyes set on what really matters – the ‘bigger picture’.

10. More Clarity

With all the distractions one is bombarded with, mental clarity is a tough state to attain. However, when you make self-improvement the primary goal of your life, you begin to start becoming more authentic and removing the clutter from your life.

Gaining clarity lets you stay focused and not engage in anything that takes you away from your goal. That said, there will be moments of confusion and indecisiveness but with experience, you will grow to become more surer of yourself while gaining clarity about your life.

11. Instill a Learning Attitude

People who are invested in their continuous self-improvement come with an extremely positive attitude towards learning. It shows that they are aware of their shortcomings and are open to receiving feedback in order to improve.

Instead of being ignorant and escaping from their problems, they make it a point to learn from their mistakes to grow and succeed.

This is a wonderful quality to have as having a learning attitude is instrumental in achieving success.

12. Cultivate Self-love

Last but not the least, self-improvement cultivates self-love and compassion. By seeing yourself grow with every passing day, you build on your confidence and self-esteem.

Many might debate that if you love yourself why must you want to change but that’s not true. Self-improvement is not changing yourself out of frustration. It is more about focusing on what matters to you and overcoming any mental hurdles that might be stopping you from reaching your highest potential .

The Bottom Line

Take this enriching journey of self-improvement in a positive light. The idea is not to get demotivated along the way and lose hope. You should instead take full responsibility of yourself and strive to go beyond your preconceived notions that might be limiting you and this can only be achieved with constant self-improvement.

So, whether you are a retired 65-year old or a 26-year old who is just starting off his/her career – remember that you will always be work in progress and there can never be an end to learning about yourself. That is what makes life purposeful and fun.


This article was first published at Lifehack


Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering


Anna Chui


No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable
Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying, “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!


Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io


This article was first published at lifehack


What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship


Anna Chui


People who are insecure in their relationships do irrational things all the time. Texting their partner a million times in a row. Or calling to check in constantly. Maybe they try to keep track of their partner’s whereabouts, even checking their email or Facebook messages when possible. Maybe you’ve experienced this, either as the insecure one, or the person dating the insecure one. Or maybe you’ve even been both, in different relationships.

Even if these aren’t the signs of a the healthiest relationships, these behaviors are common to make people feel more secure in a relationship. After getting a response back from the partner over text, Facebook, or an actual call, they feel better.

The problem is that people end up making a habit of these actions, repeat them over and over again to stay secure. These little actions, as innocuous as they are, can damage a relationship. Some might feel annoyed by their partners always checking up on them. Some might feel like there is a deep trust issue that hasn’t been solved.

The Origin of Insecurity

Imagine a world where everyone holds a certain amount of fuel in their hands. At the same time, a fire is lit in their heart and that fire needs constant fueling to survive.

Every single person will find their compatible person, someone who can find the fuel with which they can keep the other’s fire on.

Sometimes it’s a smooth exchange of fuel. Individuals find others like family members or friends to keep their fires lit and going.

But many times, people refuse to give them fuel.

These people could be their parents who failed to give them enough attention when they were still a child. Childhood development depends so much on a child’s ability to form a strong relationship with a caregiver.[1] It’s crucial for babies and children to survive by attaching to a caretaker. If children grow up without being paid enough attention by their caretaker, they can easily grow up to feel insecure and have trouble trusting other people. Feeling abandoned as a child, they might even doubt their own worthiness and a strong fear of being unwanted.

Or it could be people who made them feel rejected in previous relationships. Being rejected or betrayed by a friend or romantic partner makes people feel unwanted. They feel hurt and even doubt their own self-worth. They can find it difficult to open up to others and trust anyone else. And when they find trusting other people hard, they will inevitably feel insecure in a relationship.

As time goes on, their fire gets smaller as they lack fuel.

When, finally, someone suitable is there to give them the fuel, they seek a lot from this partner – sometimes, too much.

In order to ensure a constant supply of fuel, they do everything they can: this is when they might start checking their partner’s texts or messages, or call too often. They can’t trust their partner because of what happened in their past.

But when they demand so much fuel, it drains the other person.

And so all those things that someone does to try to feel more secure can annoy or hurt the other person. For example, they may fight a lot over small things because of moments of insecurity. Both will be exhausted: one demanding a lot of fuel, and the other trying to always supply the great demand.

As you see, insecurity doesn’t come from the current relationship or partner. It comes, instead, from the inner fear of being abandoned, not being loved, and not being valued. This feeling is built up along the way.

Where to Look for Security

The fire within a person is insecurity, and the fuel is a way to feel secure.

Waiting for another person to give you fuel is just chock full of insecurities. When other don’t want to do so, or their fuel doesn’t work well for you, your fire will become smaller. When your security depends on someone else, you give away all of your power. This is why when you’re rejected, neglected, or betrayed, you feel insecure.

Giving yourself the fuel you need is how to make your own security really sustainable.

1. Fuel Your Own Fire

Maybe you felt rejected when you were small. Or in you previous relationship, others made you feel unimportant or didn’t respect you. They didn’t reflect your self-worth.

When you feel insecure, you are often focused on something you feel is lacking about you. For example, when you don’t feel good about who you are on the inside, it is totally natural to look outside of yourself for validation.

But this isn’t a good way to stay self-sufficient. Instead, do something to make yourself feel good and secure, and you will no longer look outside for validation. Get a haircut, go to an interest class, and do what you’re good at. If you want to know more about how to feel good about yourself, read We Don’t Need More Likes, We Need Self-Esteem.

2. Keep Your Fuel Independent From Your Partner’s

Even when you’re in a relationship, it’s crucial to keep your independence. Any health relationship is comprised of two healthy people. Becoming overly enmeshed in a relationship can lead to badly-defined boundaries. You’ll have an overly diffuse sense of your own needs.

When you aren’t dependent on your relationship to fill your needs, you feel more secure about your life. It’s important to maintain a sense of self-identity and take care of your own needs. If you had hobbies and passions prior to your relationship, keep maintaining them. For example, if you’re a runner, continue getting up early and making that a priority in your life. Having your own life outside of a relationship also make you continually interesting and helps you to grow.

Everyone has what they need to feel secure. Most people don’t realize it and try to look for it from others. But relying on others to make you feel secure is not healthy and will drain a relationship. Do what makes you feel confident and worthy, stop looking for others’ validation and you’ll find the security you’ve always needed. Light your own fire.


Featured photo credit: Ravid Yosef via www.lovelifetbd.com


This article was first published at www.lifehack.org


7 Ways To Deal With Negative People


By Jon Negroni


Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.


Featured photo credit: Dustin Maher Fitness via www.dustinmaherfitness.com


This article was first published at www.lifehack.org